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Searching for Sugar Man wins again

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By Aziz Hartley

A STRING of awards, including an Oscar nomination, is just not enough.

Now the movie Searching for Sugar Man – a movie about how two Capetonians managed to track down iconic 1970s singer Sixto Rodriguez – has won the documentary award at the Directors Guild of America in Hollywood on Saturday.

The documentary has also received awards at the Critics’ Choice Movie Award where it was recognised as the best documentary, as well as at the Vancouver Film Festival and the National Board of Review.

Searching for Sugar Man is directed by Swede Malik Bendjelloul and tells the story of how Rodriguez fans Craig Bartholomew Strydom and Stephen Segerman tracked down the musician who had been rumoured to have committed suicide decades earlier. In the 1970s Rodriguez’s music was widely followed in South Africa while in the US, his home country, he was unknown.

“It is really great and we feel honoured every time the documentary gets recognition,” said Segerman yesterday.

“But it is really special for Malik who has worked so very hard. He has worked from literally no budget. It was him, a woman with a

camera and us.”

Segerman said work on the film began in 2010 and took two months of shooting in Cape Town and Detroit, US. He said despite none of the big production companies wanting to back Bendjelloul, he had seized the power of the story and produced an award-winning documentary. “All credit goes to him,” said Segerman.

Segerman and Rodriguez were together when Searching for Sugar Man was the opening film at last year’s Sundance Film Festival in Utah in the US.

The songwriter is scheduled to perform in South Africa this month. His first visit was in 1998 shortly after Bartholomew Strydom and Segerman had discovered that he was still alive.

Meanwhile Business Report reported yesterday that Rodriguez was unsure whether he would pursue the issue of royalties from his music sold in South Africa where his first album went platinum in the 1970s.

aziz.hartley@inl.co.za

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